Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Euro 2008: Day 3

Two more games and a total of three goals again

Group C: Holland, Italy, Romania, France
  • Holland 3-0 Italy
  • France 0-0 Romania

  • The Dutch earned a well deserved win over Italy but the score-line is a bit deceiving. Italy were not played off the park and Holland didn't offer any beautiful football like Dutch teams of the past. Instead, Holland offered Italy a lesson in the execution of the perfect counter-attack and were aided by a huge helping hand from the referee. Holland's opening goal should not have counted. Ruud van Nistelrooy was clearly offside but this is not the first time Ruud boy has scored a goal from an offside position. In his time at Manchester United, RVN made a career out of manipulating the passive offside rule to his advantage much to the frustration of his opponents. Today, RVN did what he does best -- stick around in the 6 yard box in an offside position to score a goal. Like Inzaghi, Ruud is the master of the 6 yard box and his 26th minute opener changed the game completely.

    Italy had started off decently and it took a while for the Dutch to get into the game. However, after the Dutch took the lead, Italy pushed upfield and Holland just attempted to hit them on the counter. From an Italian corner, Holland raced upfield and Dirk Kuyt headed into the path of Wesley Sneijder who finished nicely from a narrow angle to double Holland's lead after just 31 minutes. Italy had chances to score a goal but poor finishing let them down. A good free kick from Pirlo was saved nicely from Edwin van der Sar and from the resulting counter attack, Holland scored their 3rd goal in the 79th minute to wrap up the 3 points. Once again, Kuyt was the provider for the 3rd as his cross was headed home by Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

    First look at Group C:

    This was the group I was most looking forward to and the Holland-Italy game was probably the most enjoyable game of the tournament so far. While Holland were good in counter attacking, Italy still produced some good moments. One such moment came from Gianluca Zambrotta who turned Kuyt inside out in the 53rd minute but unfortunately Zambrotta could not fashion a goal out of his slick trickery. The Italians were poor in finishing their chances off and Di Natale, who was impressive in the Serie A last season, was especially guilty of not being sharp.

    The France-Romania game was just terrible. Pathetic. Both teams should be kicked out of the tournament for being so bad. And they should take the Czech Republic and Croatia along as well.

    Friday's Group C games are set up nicely. Italy take on Romania in the early game and have to win. While a win for Holland against France would send the Dutch through to the quarters. France will have to come out of their shell against Holland but based on today's evidence, they have nothing to offer. Still, this is a strange game. One incorrect call, one penalty and everything could change. But before Friday, there is the matter of Group D games on tuesday, along with the second games for Group A (Wed) and B (Thu).

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